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Leon's View

Try this simple rig to catch fish anywhere

Try this simple rig to catch fish anywhere

What’s a good rig for beginners to catch fish with? My vote goes to the Carolina rig, a simple, effective setup that anyone can use.

by Leon Pantenburg

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(This post is in reference to a question about simple fishing rigs for catching trout in Colorado. This rig will work just about anywhere, for any species of fish.)

Suppose you want to take a kid fishing (Don’t hold the applause, folks!) or are trying to learn a survival fishing technique. What will work?

The Carolina Rig is a great beginner setup for catching a variety of fish. For catching trout, I use a gob of floating PowerBait on the hook.

The Carolina Rig is a great beginner setup for catching a variety of fish. For catching trout, I use a gob of floating PowerBait on the hook for bait.

Well, the fishing is always good  when you using dynamite, but we’re going to assume that we will only use legal methods!

One of the most effective fishing rigs I’ve come across is the so-called “Carolina” or slip-sinker rig. It relies on  a sliding slip sinker, swivel and snelled hook.

Set-up is simple: Put the slipsinker on your fishing line, and tie the swivel below the weight. Tie the snelled hook to the other side of the swivel. Bait the hook and you’re ready to go.

Here’s how to use it.

First, find the area where the fish hang out. Look for a ripple, log or rock or something that causes a break in the current or provides some quieter water. Drop-offs between deep and shallow water in ponds or lakes are also productive. All these variances are called “structure.”

The idea is to find the area where some structure occurs, and throw the baited hook in there. The sinker will take the bait to the bottom where the fish are, and the PowerBait will float off the bottom so the fish can find it.

When you get a hit, let the fish take the bait. The sliding slip sinker will let that happen with little resistance. Then, set the hook and reel in your catch.

This is a favorite, go-to rig for virtually any kind of fish. This is the rig I started my kids out fishing with at stocked trout ponds.  The bait for trout was floating PowerBait, which is widely available. For catfish, you can use virtually any sort of cut bait. A gob of nightcrawlers, with a tiny bubble of air injected in the tails can entice just about anything!

Just keep an eye on your line, and when you feel a tug, rear back with the rod tip and set the hook.

Have fun and enjoy your catch!

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Leon's View

Leon Pantenburg is a wilderness enthusiast, and doesn't claim to be a survival expert or expertise as a survivalist. As a newspaperman and journalist for three decades, covering search and rescue, sheriff's departments, floods, forest fires and other natural disasters and outdoor emergencies, Leon learned many people died unnecessarily or escaped miraculously from outdoor emergency situations when simple, common sense might have changed the outcome. Leon now teaches common sense techniques to the average person in order to avert potential disasters. His emphasis is on tried and tested, simple techniques of wilderness survival. Every technique, piece of equipment or skill recommended on this website has been thoroughly tested and researched. After graduating from Iowa State University, Leon completed a six-month, 2,552-mile solo Mississippi River canoe trip from the headwaters at Lake Itasca, Minn., to the Gulf of Mexico. His wilderness backpacking experience includes extended solos through Yellowstone’s backcountry; hiking the John Muir Trail in California, and numerous shorter trips along the Pacific Crest Trail. Other mountain backpacking trips include hikes through the Uintas in Utah; the Beartooths in Montana; the Sawtooths in Idaho; the Pryors, the Wind River Range, Tetons and Bighorns in Wyoming; Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, the Catskills in New York and Death Valley National Monument in southern California. Some of Leon's canoe trips include sojourns through the Okefenokee Swamp and National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia, the Big Black River swamp in Mississippi and the Boundary Waters canoe area in northern Minnesota and numerous small river trips in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Leon is also an avid fisherman and an elk, deer, upland game and waterfowl hunter. Since 1991, Leon has been an assistant scoutmaster with Boy Scout Troop 18 in Bend, and is a scoutmaster wilderness skills trainer for the Boy Scouts’ Fremont District. Leon earned a second degree black belt in Taekwondo, and competed in his last tournament (sparring and form) at age 49. He is an enthusiastic Bluegrass mandolin picker and fiddler and two-time finalist in the International Dutch Oven Society’s World Championships.

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